I have to admit, I was a little disappointed by the ISNA bazaar this year. I always look forward to it, especially this year since ISNA hasn’t been in Chicago for a while, and I had a hard time finding what I wanted.
Mostly, I was searching for some basic black and brown hijabs to replace ones in my wardrobe that have gotten old and ratty from frequent use. I had a very hard time finding square hijabs, period, especially any in basic colors. I think square hijabs are out of style this year; I mostly saw rectangle ones and shawls.
I did manage to find some cute items, such as a lime green and brown-patterned scarf that goes well with a few items in my wardrobe. (Plus, I was able to buy halal gummy bears, which I was pretty excited about.)
I tried to find more patterns this year in colors that I wear often, since I’m not great at incorporating multi-colored scarves into my wardrobe.
As Mariam mentioned, some of the usual designers, such as Shukr, didn’t make it to the bazaar this year. Astrolabe, the book sellers that usually have center stage with one of the biggest booths, also wasn’t around this year. I think that made a big difference to the tone of the shopping.
However, I did manage to find some cute styles while walking around. I think that’s one of the best parts of ISNA: Being able to find other girls that you can take style cues from without having to modify them to be hijab-friendly.
I ran into sisters Yasemin and Aysun Kanar, who came to ISNA all the way from Miami. They know a thing or two about staying cool in their hijabs. Yasemin said she always looks for light hijab materials to wear in the Miami sun. She said her hijab style changes often as well.
“I do everything because it gets boring after a while,” she said.
I love the belted look and the way they’ve paired their hijabs with their outfits.
Deanna Ibrahim was manning the Hanna Collection booth, which was selling these pre-styled scarves.
Ibrahim said the style is imported from Indonesia and are on sale at hannacollection.com.
These would definitely be nice to try out at a wedding or on Eid, when you’re pairing hijabs with a fancier outfit.
Yasmeen, who came with her mom Tahani from Virginia, also caught my eye while I was shopping at the bazaar. Purple is one of my favorite colors, and I loved her style.
She describes it as “casual and comfortable, yet cute.”
Her mom joked that it takes her daughter 40 minutes just to get ready in the morning. I love the pins she’s added to her scarf to give it a little extra flair.
Of course, one of the major styles I saw at ISNA were maxi dresses. I wore my own on Sunday, since it’s comfortable and perfect for the heat. Plus, it’s easy to mix and match different scarves with the bright colors the dresses come in, and they’re great for walking when you pair them with a cute pair of flip flops.
I hope the less-than-stellar bazaar was just an anomaly this year; I look forward to ISNA every year because it’s a great place to buy hijab-friendly stuff all in one area.
Pop Culture Hijabi is a weekly column by Nadia Malik. Malik is a former newspaper reporter based in Chicago who’s now making her way as a freelancer. She spends entirely too much time watching TV and reading pop culture, fashion and TV blogs. She also occasionally consumes serious books and news. No, really. You can reach her at email@example.com with “pop culture hijabi” in the subject line, follow her at www.twitter.com/nadiamalik or simply leave a comment below.